When you consider approximately 40% of our food supply is thrown away or goes bad before we can eat it and 1 out of 4 people (or 5, depending on where you live) are hungry, banana bread is a glimmer of hope in a world of wasted food. It’s one of the first things I learned to bake with my grandmother.
Having been raised in the Depression, she was a great cook, but her real skill was being able to take dreaded leftovers and turn them into something unbelievably tasty, gorgeous and distinctively different from its former self. Just as easily, she could take food that looked like it was past its prime, such as really ripe bananas, and make something absolutely delicious, like banana bread.
As skilled as she was with savory foods, she was even more of a wizard when it came to baking. Her cookies were legendary, birthday cakes supreme, crusts flaky and her peach cobbler stellar, but we have come a long way since those days and contemporary baking no longer requires lots of sugar, butter and flour.
With the health and wellness food revolution that is happening all around us, we have an assortment of alternative flours and natural sweeteners to choose from that generate stupendous results with less (or virtually no) carbs or refined sugars. And who doesn’t want to cut back on carbs and sugar?
This is the new banana bread.
Of course, you will still need those rotting bananas on the counter that everyone keeps walking by, but you won’t need any all-purpose flour or cups of sugar. Instead, this recipe from two of my favorite culinary goddesses in London, the sisters Jasmine and Melissa of Hemsley + Hemsley, calls for a half cup of coconut flour and a single tablespoon of maple syrup.
But don’t worry, this banana bread is plenty sweet, quite moist and loaded with flavor and nutrients. The sweetness comes from the very ripe bananas and you can add some nuts for texture to make this paleo banana bread one you will cherish for years to come.
While it might be totally different from the traditional flour-sugar laden version we were raised on, I know my grandmother would love this updated version of one of her favorite treats that highlighted her zero-waste philosophy.
Paleo Banana Bread
Who doesn't love banana bread? It is a great way to use those spotted bananas on the counter everyone keeps avoiding and makes a fab breakfast or snack. Using the food processor, it makes cleaning up that much more simple. And with no flour and one single tablespoon of maple syrup, the bananas provide all of the sweetener it needs and your daily dose of potassium as well.
- 4 large very ripe bananas I used 420 grams, which was four small bananas, but the original recipe calls for 350 grams--and have one banana leftover for topping the batter before baking
- 60 g 1/2 heaping cup coconut flour
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon or more, if desired
- 4 pastured eggs
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil melted
- 1 generous teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup divided (1 1/2 teaspoons for batter and 1/1 2 teaspoons drizzled on top of batter before baking)
- Reserved banana sliced, for garnish
- 2-3 tablespoons chopped nuts such as walnuts or pecans, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper. (I used a silicone pan and did not line it.)
Remove the banana peels and any strings that may remain on the banana. Weigh out 350-420 grams and drop bananas in the food processor. Reserve any leftover banana intact to slice on top before baking. Process the banana until it is smooth.
To the mashed bananas, add the coconut flour, cinnamon, eggs, coconut oil, maple syrup (1 1/2 teaspoons) and vanilla and process until smooth. Stop machine and add baking soda, apple cider vinegar and a pinch of salt and pulse three or four time or until blended. Stir down the sides of the bowl to make sure all of the coconut flour is blended and pulse a few more times to incorporate.
Pour the batter into the lined loaf or silicone loaf pan and garnish with remaining sliced banana and chopped nuts, if desired. Drizzle remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of maple syrup over the top and place in the oven.
Cook for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool on a rack completely before removing from the loaf pan. When completely cooled, slice and serve as is, with a schmear of cream cheese or try it toasted and a cup of coffee or a nice tall glass of iced coffee.
Keep any leftovers in the refrigerator.